What Is Parenthood?

Hero Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Parenthood is the state of being a parent, or one who is either a father or mother. A parent is responsible for the well being, education and care for a child while the child is a minor, or under the age of 18.

The parent has a moral, social and legal obligation to the child under his care. This means that the parent is legally obligated to provide food, shelter, clothing, safety, health care and an education for the child until the child’s 18th birthday. Parents are also charged with the socialization of the child, making sure that the child has the social and communication skills necessary to interact successfully in society. The parent is legally responsible for meeting his obligations to the child and for any actions that the child takes while underage. For instance, if a child commits a crime, such as stealing, the parents are considered as culpable in the eyes of the law as if they had perpetrated the incident. If a parent is found to be neglecting or abusing a child, the state government can revoke parental rights. A parent can also give up his parental rights legally by passing them along to someone else as part of a legal adoption of the child.